Why Nitric Oxide

What is Nitric Oxide?

 Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas. It is highly reactive, that is, it participates in many chemical reactions. NO should not to be confused with nitrous oxide (N2O), a general anaesthetic, or with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which is a poisonous air pollutant.

While NO is used in many industries, the most important thing to know about NO is that it is a very important signaling molecule in the body of all mammals including humans. It is one of a very few gaseous signaling molecules known. A Nobel prize was awarded in 1998 to Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, and Ferid Murad “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system.” Signal transmission by a gas that is produced by one cell and penetrates through membranes to regulate the function of another cell, represents an entirely new principle for signalling in biological systems.

These discoveries are leading to new frontiers in the medical industry. The medical industry currently uses inhaled NO for various cases of pulmonary hypertension in new born babies, heart transplant patients, and others.You may already be familiar with existing products in the market place that are precursors to the production of NO in your body, such as L-arginine, nitroglycerin, Viagra, Minoxidil, and others.

What Does Nitric Oxide Do

Nitric Oxide (NO)…

  • is an extremely important bio-mediator in the human body
  • is produced from the amino acid l-arginine
  • is the smallest known gaseous signaling module released by mammalian and plant cells.
  • is a selective vasodilator, (active product ingredient of nitroglycerin and in erectile dysfunction drugs)
  • has anti-inflammatory properties
  • has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal properties
  • should not be confused with NO2 – nitrogen dioxide, or N20 – nitrous oxide.

Source: Antimicrobial Agents Chemother, 2007 Sept. 51 (9)

Back To Top

Effects of Nitric Oxide

Exogenous gaseous nitric oxide is able to eradicate a variety of bacterial species in vitro, including;

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Escherichia coli
  • Group B Streptococcus
  • Pseudomonas aeroginosa
  • Candida albicans

Source: Nitric Oxide 2006 Febuary, 14 (1): 21-9

Exogenous gaseous nitric oxide exerts an antimicrobial effect on Mycobacterium smegmatis.

Source: Antimicrobial Agents Chemother, 2007 Sept. 51 (9)

Back To Top

Science (for the daring reader)

We will be posting some specific scientific information here shortly… Until then, you can find our entire compilation of science under the Medical News section of the site.

Back To Top